Day 9

Day 9:Today we went to Mayor’s clinic: El Centro de Choluteca.
It was overwhelming to walk in into a waiting room full of people of different ages waiting to be seen.
It was a welcomed surprise to find out that the exam rooms were air conditioned (for the first time since coming to Honduras)
Despite the volume the flow went very well, and the physicians were appreciative of us being there.

In the afternoon we went to Semesur Hospital which is a private hospital, to say there was there is a discordance with the public hospital is an understatement.
We were welcomed to do a presentation on signs and symptoms stroke and care of the geriatric.

We went back into the intense heat to get back to the hotel.

It was my best day in Choluteca thus far in this one week of my life that has been life changing in the best possible way.

Day 8th

We started the morning with a delicious breakfast at our host family the (Overholts). Then we headed to the Vocational Educational Center for Holistic Transformation where we touught CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) to the students. The training was very interactive and students participated well. Big thanks to Angie who always helps us to interpret for us everywhere. Also Thanks to Jen and Julia who performed patient and rescuer scnerio.

After the teaching the CPR, we went to Apacilagua and did some primary care, pediatric care, and women’s health. Iza did great job working with women and performing Pap smears. Iza is also great with ropes and has good camping skills!

Everyone worked hard to deliver well needed care for the people of Apacilagua.
We couldn’t do this without our fabulous pharmacy team and great preceptors!

At the end of the day the team was very, very hot and tired, however they managed to pose for one more photo before leaving Apacilagua!

Thank you all for being a great team!


A young, Honduran woman stepped into the dusty school room. She sat down at the wooden school desk, the arms of the chair wrapped snuggly around her waist. A breeze blew, but only to swirl hot heat. Smoke from the burning trash wafted its way in through the windows. Jen, a certified nurse midwife student, asked her, “How many pregnancies have you had? How many births? How many abortions or miscarriages?” She continued on with standard women’s health questions. The woman had broad shoulders and a kind smile. Before her pap and pelvic exam, she told us of her shoulders, how they ached with a heavy pain. All the women in the village carried large jugs of water atop their heads for long distances. They did it with a smile and slight forward bend. We gave her ibuprofen to calm the pain, then directed her to the “exam room.”

Early in the morning Jen, Lucia, Khadra and I worked fastidiously to set up the women’s health room. We toted around metal tri-folding screens then duct taped old shower curtains to the rods for privacy. We gathered rocks to stabilize the screens, and roped cloth around the front to create an entryway. We used a square object wrapped in a Depends diaper to assist in lifting the woman’s bottom up in lieu of an exam table and stirrups. We taped paper over the window screens with holes to shield one-hundred peeking first-grade eyes. And we waited, for women exactly like her, who came in need of a women’s health exam.


“Señora, listas?” I asked. “Si,” she answered. I stepped inside the walls of the draped curtains with Khadra. She sat atop the folding table, draped in an oversized blue disposable robe, a scene not unfamiliar to millions of American women. But, very much about this exam room was unfamiliar. Children’s books, whose spines were covered in dust, scattered about. One rusted fan squeaked in the corner. Sweat dripped from all of our brows in the 105-degree heat, and sliding my pap headlamp down onto my face. And here, with this Honduran woman, stood two American women preparing to perform a wholly intimate, and sometimes intimidating exam. She sat on the table in her robe, her arms crossed tightly over her knees, tucked into her chest. The kind, warm woman we greeted at triage now seemed timid. Rightfully so. I slowed down, looked at her, and smiled, then said, “Me llamo Julia. Yo soy una enfermada de los estados unidos.” She nodded. I instructed her to place the box-shaped object beneath her lower back and slide to the bottom of the table. Khadra looked down at her toes, with dirt caked beneath each toenail, as they curled up tensely. She put her hand on one of her feet and said to me, “She is very tense. It is difficult to do an exam when their body is tense.” I put one hand on her knee, and softly said, “Relaje (relax),”. I looked in her eyes, softly told her to relax, and to breathe. “Respire.” Just keep breathing. We finished the exam swiftly and let her know we would step out of the room for her to put on her clothes.

When she emerged, her warm, kind smile returned and she thanked us. I did not feel there was much to thank me for. I peered out the glass window as she walked out and looked at the woman in the village walking with water atop their heads. The children lined up, giggling and pushing. The stray dogs scratching themselves and roosters pecking. I remember when I served in the United States Peace Corps in Thailand, we used a phrase, “Same same, but different.” It meant that although there were many cultural or environmental similarities, it was also vastly different. Today took me back to that notion, that although some similarities exist, we are outsiders, traveling into well-worn villages. The dust and smoke, the physical labor and piece-mealed healthcare is their normal. For merely one moment in time, it was our new normal, but forever theirs. And I realized, the woman in the exam room wasn’t the only one tense, but me, too, as I immersed myself wholly into rural Honduran culture and the healthcare that is accessible to them. Today I was grateful for my team of nurse practitioners and nurse practitioner students, and all of those who assisted us to bring skilled healthcare to that village. I felt grateful for the privilege to travel to Honduras as part of The Ohio State University and the College of Nursing. The world, with its gritty, harsh realities, punctuated by a multitude of kindness, compassion, and joy, never ceases to amaze me. And as I struggled to put it all together in my head, I breathe and remind myself, “relaje.”


Tuesday at the Health Department

We kick started the day bright and early with a beautiful sunrise.

The nursing students joined our team today at the second Health Department. Jen, Chiseko & I did women’s health clinic while our other team members, Khadra, Iza, Teri & Julia ran our primary care clinics. Our wonderful faculty facilitated our day and the pharmacists had their hands busy filling the prescriptions of approximately 100 patients. We were blessed to be in a wonderful facility headed by the newly contracted MD, Dr. Lorena. I would like to give a special shout out to Jen for her exceptional teaching skills as she acted as a preceptor guiding both Chiseko & me in gynecologic and obsteric care.

After one busy morning, we headed to Teletón, a rehabilitation facility that sees patients of all ages established by the Cubans. And, what a beautiful place this was!

Last but not least, our host, Angie, took us to downtown Choluteca to purchase colorful Honduran baskets.

The day was filled with joyous laughter and open hearts. The Hondurans and their country have captured my heart and I could not feel more grateful for this experience.

Monday March 12

(The team and eleventh grade nursing class in front of the school/Overholts’s.)

Another sweltering, gratifying, and slightly chaotic day in the books!

Our morning started at 0545 as we walked to the Overholts’s for breakfast. We quickly ate, loaded the truck with our suitcases full of clinic supplies, and caravanned through downtown Choluteca to the health department. This was the first time any of the Overholts’s study abroad groups went to this particular health department, so we all went into the experience with open minds. The eleventh grade class of the nursing school joined us and utilized their growing skill set; students conducted patient intakes, took blood pressures and blood sugars, and served as pivotal conduits of communication between the team and patients.

(Basking in the sun outside the health department after a great morning.)

The health department’s facilities demanded some innovation on our behalf, and I think we delivered pretty well! After setting up the exam rooms, the entire clinic’s power went out…and stayed out for the duration of our time there. The only implication for losing power was the absence of several functioning ceiling fans that slightly improved air circulation, making the space hotter. In any case, we persevered!

Khadra and I (Jen) facilitated the two women’s health exam rooms while engaging nursing students and seeing patients. We conducted both well woman exams and prenatal visits. I deeply appreciated using the Doppler to have the expecting moms listen to the heartbeat, as many of them hadn’t had any prenatal care until today.

Terri, Kathryn, Julia, Iza, and Chiseko saw adult and pediatric patients in the other larger rooms. It was crowded. It was noisy. It was hot. (Like 100+ degrees indoors.) And everyone involved demonstrated compassion and patience. The community members present expressed gratitude and eagerness to participate in their health care, and the team ensured everyone’s self-identified needs were addressed.

Lauren and Jeff held down the pharmacy fort, per usual! “Despite the chaos, we managed to get everyone the medications they needed,” says Lauren.

Lucia, Jan, Angie, and Patty continued to precept and guide the team’s efforts.

After wrapping up clinic, we drove back to the Overholts’s for lunch, re-stocked suitcases of supplies, and taught the nursing students about CPR and first aid.

The day calmed down with a much needed siesta followed by dinner and lounging. It’s safe to say we’ll all likely be sound asleep by 2100.

Day 3 Nursing High School and Hospital Visit


(First group pic, meeting at the hotel pool before starting the day)

Thankful to have another beautiful, warm (100 degree) day in Choluteca, Honduras. We walked over to the Overholt’s, ate breakfast together, and prepared for the nursing high school students to arrive.

New stethoscopes, including a teaching stethoscope, were presented to the nursing school by Jeff, the team’s pharmacist.

The first class of the morning was on preconception and prenatal care, and was taught by Jen and Khadra, who are midwifery/Women’s health nurse practitioner students.



The next class was taught by Lauren and was on injection administration, and the students practiced injections. The third class was on suturing and was taught by Julia and the demonstration teaching was given by Ed. The students also were able to practice simple suture techniques with practice models.





After classes and lunch we prepared to visit the Hospital General del Sur to deliver supplies and view the wards.


(Katherine and the team with our caravan of suitcases filled with donated supplies).

We visited the NICU, pediatric ward, labor and delivery, and the men’s surgery/recovery ward and gave hygiene kits for the nurses and stethoscopes.





Provided medical care supplies and sheets for the patient beds. We handed out toys and coloring books to the pediatric patients.

(Terri getting some toys ready to handout to the kids)

The labor and delivery ward requested a fetal heart rate Doppler machine and which was delivered today.


(Jen, Chiseko, Lucia, Terri, Julia, Khadra, Angie: presenting the Doppler and other supplies to nurses in the Labor an Delivery ward)

The hospital was an eye opener for how difficult it can be to provide care for patients with extremely limited resources as a hospital.

The team stopped at the mall and grocery store for a bit on the way back to get some coffee and food/snacks.



(Tried  Chile and fruit popsicles)

We ended the day with dinner at the Overholts and are looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 1 Siete de Mayo, Honduras

Our day started early, meeting at 0615 and walking from the hotel to the Overholt’s for breakfast. After a quick breakfast medical supplies were loaded into suitcases. Tables and screens were packed up and we were off to Siete de Mayo for our first clinic. We set up the clinics in school rooms. Khadra and Jen led by Lucia worked hard to get screens and curtains up in the women’s clinic. Teri, Chiseko, Kathryn, Julia, and Iza set up the primary care clinic. Lauren and Jeff ended our patients visits dispensing everything with a smile and sometimes a piece of candy. Angie, Ed, Jan, Patty, and our interpreter were always there for guidance, support, and to bridge our communication gap. Our patients ranged from 6 months to 78 years. To say it was one of the most amazing days of my life doesn’t come close do doing the day justice. The people we saw were in line for hours and every single one of them had a smile on their face and a “gracious” on their lips at the end of their visit.